It’s Time To Upgrade Your Piano If …

It’s Time To Upgrade Your Piano If …

You wanted your child to play the piano, and they’ve been doing well with it for months. You’re happy with their progress. But now, their instructor is telling you it’s time to upgrade your piano. 

What does that mean? Why do you need to upgrade? Isn’t a piano a piano? 

Let’s look at the number of reasons why upgrading might be a good idea. 

Touch

A lot of parents are initially shocked at the price of a piano. Then they struggle with spending money on an instrument they aren’t sure their child will continue to play. So they invest in something inexpensive, often digital. Something they find at their favorite big box store, perhaps. While this may be good in the beginning, it can’t help your child learn the intricate details of playing the piano. 

The biggest reason is because of touch. Traditional pianos have touch weight, which refers to the resistance the keys have when you press them down. This weight is designed to teach a person dynamic response. Over time, you learn to press into the keys with varying weight to receive different responses from the tonal quality of the music being played. If your piano doesn’t have that capability, you lose out learning this critical step. 

Action

Pianos have thousands of parts, each put together in such a way to create sound. Over time, these parts can start to wear down, creating friction in the way they come together. Imagine if strings are loose or broken; the sound quality won’t be there. How can you play if the music being made isn’t right? 

Size

The standard keyboard has 88 keys. Many digital pianos are built compact for size and flexibility. But without a full range of keys, at some point, a piano player simply can’t play what they desire. 

Size also matters in the overall construction of the piano itself. If you’re received a piano from a friend, you might have an older, more compact size. Pianos were built for a variety of reasons, one for compact living space. Everything about the piano was reduced, including the size of the keys themselves. Again, it’s back to the feel of the piano. If your child wants to move forward with their musical talent, they have to understand how to get full depth from the instrument. And that’s simply not possible on all instruments. 

Tone

Of course, tone is also a big reason to upgrade. Basic pianos will never sound as good as concert level pianos. Moving up improves the overall quality of the sound. If you want to hear the difference in piano tone, give us a call. We can share with you the differences, and help you make the right choice for your needs. 

How Do You Buy A First Piano

How Do You Buy A First Piano

Selecting activities for your child is something every parent has to do. Should you involve them in sports? How about the arts? Is music the way to go? 

There are many reasons to give your child the gift of music. It helps with memory. It improves their performance in school. It helps with listening skills. It can even boost testing ability. 

Great reasons for select playing the piano. 

Once you’ve decided to send your kids to piano lessons, however, you’ll have to buy your first piano. And once you choose to do that, you’ll usually face three questions from the start. 

1. I’m not sure if my child will like this. Should I buy something simple until I’m sure?

2. Should I buy acoustic or digital; what’s the difference?

3. Where should I buy a first piano? 

Let’s start with the first. 

We hear this statement a lot. When parents find out the cost of a piano, they often become wary of spending money on an activity that is so new. What if your child doesn’t like it? Then you’re stuck with an expensive instrument no one will play. 

Yet a piano is the basic tool your child needs to learn to play. If they don’t have a proper tool at the start, they are less likely to enjoy the process. It’s like playing football with a golf ball and walking shoes instead of cleats. If an instrument doesn’t have great tonal quality, it’ll be like playing on a toy. And your child won’t enjoy the outcome. 

There are good and bad points to the final piano you select. Some prefer acoustic while others prefer digital. But no matter what piano you choose, you should always ensure it’s properly weighted and has full size keys. Smaller keyboards won’t have the proper 88 notes. They might also have keys that aren’t responsive. They have a trigger effect that makes it feel like an acoustic. Without that, your child won’t be able to convert to other pianos as they improve their learning. 

If you don’t know much about pianos, it’s a good idea to learn a little about the process before you make your final selection. That’s where coming into our store can help. We’re happy to teach you all you need to know about making your final selection. We also have the ability to help you decide between used and new, and to work within your budget. 

That’s something you’ll never find searching on Craigslist. You might wind up with an instrument that doesn’t even play. 

And without that, your child will never learn to love learning to play the piano. 

How can we help you make your final selection when buying your first piano? 

Why Should I Buy A Baby Grand Piano Today?

Why Should I Buy A Baby Grand Piano Today?

When people decide to purchase a grand piano, there are many factors to consider before you make your final selection. You might start the process by looking for a specific make or model. But there are also other decisions, such as the size of the grand piano available. 

Each size is created for specific applications in mind. A baby grand piano will be different from a concert grand piano. Here are a few things you should consider. 

The difference between uprights and grands

There are two different types of acoustic pianos: uprights and grand. Uprights – also called vertical pianos – are built with the strings positioned vertically. This means the hammers are positioned to move horizontally, using spring action to control the movement onto the strings. An upright is more compact than a grand, which is why many homeowners prefer them if they are limited on space. They can be tucked up against a wall and allow a family to bring it into their home even with the tightest of spaces. 

Horizontal pianos – grand pianos – are stretched horizontally with the strings stretching out from the keyboard. When a key is struck, the hammer hits the string from underneath, and returns to its resting position by use of gravity. It doesn’t use springs like the upright, giving a purer sound in the process. That’s why you find grand pianos used in most concert settings; the tone is richer, more vibrant. 

What is a baby grand piano?

If you start looking for a grand piano, you’ll notice a variety of designations come along with the classification. While manufacturers do have some say in how they classify a grand piano, in general, the size determines how a piano is listed:

Petit grand – this is the smallest of the grand pianos. They are typically under 5 feet in length and work great in a room where size is an issue. 

Baby grand – this is one of the most popular grand pianos on the market. They offer excellent tonal quality while still being sized right for most modern homes. You’ll find them in the 5 foot to 5 feet 5 inches. 

Classic grand – these range from around 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches. 

Professional grand – these range from around 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 2 inches. They are often referred to as a full grand piano, and you’ll find them in music rooms around the world. 

Living room grand – also known as a parlor grand, these measure from 6 feet 3 inches to 6 feet 10 inches, and make a striking conversational piece in any room. 

Semi-concert grand – these are popular in music halls and concert venues because of their rich sound. They are between 6 feet 11 inches and 7 feet 8 inches. 

Concert grand – anything larger than 7 feet 8 inches is referred to as a concert grand. They are commonly used in orchestras and by professional musicians. 

Size doesn’t matter when selecting a piano. Pay attention to sound first. A baby grand piano is often the perfect choice for a home because it offers a rich voice with the most compact size. 

How can we help you with your piano selection today?

When Should You Buy a Piano For A Beginner?

When Should You Buy a Piano For A Beginner?

If your child wants to start playing the piano, you’ll have to buy a piano to get them started. 

Just like starting up football means you’ll have to invest in pads, or heading into the arts means you’ll have to invest in paints, having the right tools is all part of the process. 

But for a budding musician, pianos are more expensive than a palette of paints. How do you know you’re making the right choices for what to buy? And is there a right time to invest in a piano for a beginning piano player? 

Let’s start with one of the biggest fallacies about starting up the piano. 

Parents are often nervous about making a significant investment in a piano until they know if their child likes it and will stick with it. So they look for the cheapest option instead, choosing the “wait and see” approach before they lay down real money. 

They get one for free from a neighbor. Or pick up an inexpensive keyboard from their local big box store.  

There’s a problem with that. 

Would you let your child wear soccer shoes, two sizes too big as they try out a new sport? Of course not. That would be dangerous at best. It’s common sense to know that you need the proper gear to excel at the game. 

The same applies to learning to play the piano. If you buy a piano that isn’t high quality, your child won’t be able to feel the music. They can grow frustrated, and quit because they can’t play the way they should. 

A high quality instrument isn’t out of tune. It sounds great no matter what level they play. 

It has perfectly weighted keys, meaning there’s a certain touch to the keyboard, and your child learns to “feel” their way to success. 

It also shows you value their choices in extra activities. You’re making an investment in their future, and choose to give them every advantage as they explore what music will mean in their lives. 

If you want to buy a piano and give your child every advantage of sticking with it and becoming a great piano player, ensure you purchase the right piece of equipment right from the beginning. 

We’re here to help. 

Why Tone Quality Matters When Buying A New Piano

Why Tone Quality Matters When Buying A New Piano

Are you thinking of buying a new piano? What should you look for?

If this is your first purchase, it’s easy to start with the basics. Things like:

Location – where you’ll place the piano determines how large the piano can be

Color – piano color or stain will ultimately match your decor

Cost – price is always a factor

But to a pianist, there is one more thing you should consider when starting the hunt for the right piano for you … tone quality. 

Tone is how your piano sounds. It’s the voice of the instrument. It’s the sound that the piano makes every time you strike the keys. 

Even the most accomplished musician in the world can’t create beautiful music if the instrument doesn’t cooperate. Imagine sitting in one of the greatest music halls in the world and the pianist strikes a key horribly out of tune. You’d notice it immediately. The same applies to tone. Why play something that sounds tinny instead of robust? 

Tone quality is impacted ultimately by three things:

Physical factors

This includes everything your piano is made from. The wood used for the soundboard. The quality of the strings. How the action was designed. The quality of the wood on everything from hammers to the body of the piano. It also depends on the make and model, and how much care was put into it at the time of production. An upright will sound differently than a grand. A mass production will sound differently than a hand built piano. 

Placement

Have you ever wondered why concert halls are built the way they are? It’s to maximize the musical experience. If you’ve ever noticed your favorite song sounds different in your car versus on your stereo at home, you’ve also seen placement at work. When you shop for a new piano, they will ask you where you’ll place it once it arrives at your home. A small alcove will keep the tone smaller compared with placing a piano in a large music room. Furniture, drapery, wall coverings, artwork – it all can impact the sound. And that can give you a richer experience while you play. 

Care

Tone quality is also impacted by the way you care for your piano over the years. Do you tune it regularly? Is the room properly conditioned? Is there enough humidity? Is it impacted by drafts or heated air? Pianos aren’t like other pieces of furniture. Because of the thousands of tiny parts inside, it’s important to ensure it’s cared for properly from the moment it’s delivered to your home. 

Are you in the market for a new piano? Pay attention to tone quality. It will ensure you enjoy playing for years to come. 

5 Unusual Things To Consider When Buying A Used Piano

5 Unusual Things To Consider When Buying A Used Piano

Buying a used piano doesn’t mean you have to scour online resources to find a good deal. When you buy from independent sellers, you’re always taking a risk. 

  • You have nothing to compare it to
  • They don’t offer any type of guarantees
  • They won’t tell you the history
  • Are you really getting a fair price?
  • Is it something that will give you playability for years to come?

Luckily, there are a few unusual things you can look for that will ensure you are purchasing a high quality piano. 

Look for the serial number

You’ve probably grown accustomed to looking for VIN numbers when you buy a used car. You can use it to find out all kinds of information about its history, including if it’s been in a wreck. While pianos aren’t tracked in the same manner as a car, the serial number can tell you its age. If you can’t find it, it’s a good indication someone is trying to hide its history. It may have been a less-than-stellar refurbishing job, or simply a homeowner trying to do the work themselves. 

Ask for tuning records

If an independent owner has had the piano in their home for years, they should be more than willing to share their maintenance schedule with you. How often has the piano been tuned? What work has the piano technician performed over the years? It can also help you continue the schedule, and maybe even point you in the direction of the technician who already understands the nuances of the piano you’re buying. 

Play every note

People naturally gravitate to middle C. They may place their hands on it and run through a scale or two. But what about the other keys? Sit down and run through all of them. Play them all one at a time and listen to the tone they create. Do you hear a clue that it’s in anything but stellar condition? You should also run through all the keys while pressing the right pedal to check the repetition. 

Integrity

Do a thorough walk-thru of the entire piano, inside and out. Look for small cracks in the structure. Look for missing pieces on the inside. Look for varying qualities of artistry, which can tell you it’s been rebuilt by someone who didn’t understand quality. Even if you don’t understand the workings of a piano, you can usually pick out differences in quality. 

Bring a technician with you

Depending on the price tag of your purchase, it might be a good idea to bring a piano technician with you. They may see things you won’t. It also gives them an opportunity to assess how well a piano has been cared for over the years, and what it would take to keep it that way in the future. 

Are you ready to buy a used piano? Do it the right way and you’ll ensure an instrument you’ll love to play for years to come. 

What’s Really Important When Selecting A New Piano

What’s Really Important When Selecting A New Piano

There are two kinds of piano shoppers:

  • The ones who are buying their first pianos
  • The ones who are upgrading to something better

Because they are looking for something entirely different, their approach to selecting a new piano varies. 

If you’ve never played the piano before, you might not understand the value in selecting the right instrument. A piano is a piano, right? Well … 

Not exactly. 

Many pianos are made by hand. That makes every single instrument out there different. They play differently. They sound different. They feel different. 

If you’re selecting a new piano for the first time, you might not understand how important it is to sit down and really listen to the way the piano sounds. You might not know to compare it with other models, other manufacturers, other options. 

If you’re looking for a new piano and you have years of practice behind you, you might have a few more requests in mind. Maybe you have features you have to have – they’re non-negotiable. Or maybe you have a specific brand in mind. 

Our best advice to you is to come in with your mind wide open. 

The higher up in the music business classical pianists move, the more set they become on what they want to play. But is that all about sound and playability? Or is it more about marketing?

Some of the oldest brands in the business might have professional clout. They’ve always been the best, so they assume they will always be the top of the line. That isn’t always so. 

There are innovators, even in the piano industry. Inventions that can make you a better piano player, provide more musicality, and give you more opportunity to play. Pianos that take advantage of today’s technology and make you a better player. 

Are you in the market for something new? What process are you using for selecting a new piano? We can help you find the right instrument for you. 

Piano Scams You Should Be Aware Of

Piano Scams You Should Be Aware Of

Do a quick search online for “piano scams” and you’ll find many different complaints about how people lost money by trying to buy or sell a piano. 

Ultimately, they can all be lumped into three categories:

Trust 

The first involves trust. We all want to believe people are inherently good. That’s not always the case. 

If you’re purchasing from a private owner, are you sure you’re getting a piano in good working condition? Are you sure it’s the piano they claim it to be? 

Private individuals often push pianos in lousy working condition onto people, claiming ignorance when asked about playability. “I don’t know” or “It’s been sitting in the corner for years” is often their reply. If you don’t understand much about the working condition of a piano, it can be difficult to determine how functional it is in just a few moments of time. 

Fake

When people refurbish a piano, it’s often necessary to replace the name decal on the piano. Did you know they are easy to buy?

That’s because rebuilders and refinishers have a legitimate need to be able to brand a piano as they finish their work. Unfortunately, less than scrupulous refurbishers often try and make a piano look more valuable than it really is. Imagine if you saw a Steinway label on a piano that really wasn’t a Steinway? Would you know the difference? Would you pay the price? 

Stretching The Truth

There’s a third way that’s slightly different from the fake piano from above. Over the years, piano manufacturers have folded into one another again and again. New piano manufacturers have also opened up in many other countries around the world. 

With all of this “intermixing”, it’s sometimes hard to tell quality based on name. For example, The Baldwin piano is an American company that has produced pianos for decades. Yet Howard pianos were built under the Baldwin brand, and are considered a lower production line. Could Howard pianos technically have a Baldwin brand? In theory. But it would be a misrepresentation of the true origin of the piano. 

Know Your Source

The world of pianos is changing. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know your source. 

If you have questions about purchasing a piano you can enjoy for years to come, stop by and chat with a member of our sales team. You’ll be confident about your final selection, and know you have a quality instrument that will be a joy to play. 

Should You Buy a Piano Ready To Restore?

Should You Buy a Piano Ready To Restore?

Sometimes, looking around at new pianos just doesn’t provide the experience you’re looking for. Sure, they look nice. Beautiful in every way. 

But you want something … different. 

Maybe you should buy a piano ready to restore. 

Pianos are unique in that with some manufacturers and models, they have the ability to increase in value over time. Because they were built in a bygone era using materials that quite often are no longer available, they can have more value today. 

Imagine owning a piano played by some of the greatest musicians of the past century. 

Or how about owning an instrument that sat in one of the greatest concert halls in the world?

If you choose to buy a piano ready to restore, it’s more than selecting one that looks good sitting on the showroom floor. Instead, it’s about finding one that has a story to tell, and then bringing it back to life to sit proudly in your home for years to come. 

The first step is defining your goals. What are you looking for in a piano? Where will it be on display? What’s your budget? From there, we can find a piano perfect for your needs. 

Then you can be a part of the restoration process. Pick your favorite stain color, light, medium, or dark. Prefer a color? Black, white, or somewhere in between. In some cases, you can choose nickel or brass hardware to accent the final look. 

Not only was the piano a work of art before restoration, but it also gained uniqueness by having you be a part of the process. It will truly be something you’ll be proud to put on display in your home, and love for years to come. 

How To Purchase The Perfect Church Piano

How To Purchase The Perfect Church Piano

If you have any experience with purchasing a church piano, you know every piano is different. Defining your goals is important before you make your final decision. 

For example, the piano you place in a practice room wouldn’t have the same requirements as one you place on a stage. If you’ll be using it in a classroom of kids, it has different requirements than one you’ll be accompanying the choir. 

Your first step is to define your goals clearly. What do you need the piano for? 

  • Will it be kept in one place?
  • Will it be moved around?
  • Who will use it?
  • Who will listen to it?
  • Who will play it?

As you budget for replacing a current piano or adding a new one, don’t discount the value of used pianos. This isn’t about finding one off of Craigslist. Instead, it’s about working with a reputable dealer who can help you discover your needs. 

This is often why restored pianos can be a great purchase. Pianos of yesteryear were built to last. In many cases, the fact that they still are high-quality and in-demand today speaks volumes. And when they are fully restored to their best condition, their sound and tonal quality can often far exceed what you could purchase new for today. 

Which brings us to another question for you. Do you have a scratched, worn out piano in the basement you’ve been thinking about getting rid of? What if it could be brought back to life once again? 

Many of these older pianos are actually diamonds in the rough. Because you have experience with this piano, you know how well it’s been treated over the years. If it was a high-quality instrument in the first place, chances are through restoration, it can be brought back to great condition once again. 

Are you looking to purchase a high-quality piano for your church? Don’t start by looking at pianos, begin by considering your needs. Give us a call and we can help you determine what’s best for your needs, and help you find the right piano for your church.